Enstrom Helicopters Making Efforts To Sell Professionally
By David Juwel
As our readers know, I am not shy about pointing out the dismal
failures in aviation management and marketing. I do this to
stimulate change which is good for our industry. On the other end
of the spectrum, I thoroughly enjoy pointing out good examples.
Such was the case today when I had a meeting with Dennis Martin,
the marketing manager for Enstrom Helicopter. The meeting resulted
in one of the most engaging conversations about aviation marketing
that I've had at a fly-in.
There are 12 helicopter manufacturers in the world and Enstrom
Helicopter is one of the smaller players. They are a privately
owned company that has been in business for 52 years. With only 115
employees, they have a completely American made product, produced
without the benefit of government subsidies like the European
manufacturers enjoy, and they sell 20-30 aircraft a year.
Currently, they are making significant inroads in the international
market which will increase their output. This is occurring in spite
of the international economy. I wondered how they were able to
compete with the major manufacturers in those markets, or how
they've been able to last this long considering some of the bigger
players in their industry.
Even when you look at the comparison charts, some of the major
manufacturers barely acknowledge their existence. But like the
tortoise and hare race, Enstrom is patiently going the distance,
and is slowly gaining ground.
Dennis told me that their mission is not to become the biggest.
They just want to make a quality aircraft produced at a high
American standard, and sell it at a very competitive price, and
then provide excellent after market service. They have focused on
that mission and stuck with it through the years. As a result they
have a deserved reputation among their customers. The fact that
they've kept their acquisition costs, and their D.O.C. down, hasn't
In addition, they don't prequalify people before they'll talk to
them. Dennis teaches his sales people to engage everyone. He
recognizes that anyone walking up to his display, no matter how
they're dressed, may not only be able to afford one of his
helicopters, but they might also be able to afford a fleet of them.
But no matter if they can afford it, if the individual is treated
in a responsible business manner, years down the road when they can
afford it, or when their company needs a helicopter - they may just
remember the professional treatment they received and make the
first call to you. Especially in business, what goes around, comes
Since their market is primarily private owners, law enforcement,
and training facilities, it doesn't hurt to have a safe, high
quality, rugged product, which is exactly what they produce.
What I observed at this display was professional and personable
salesmanship. This is just what you should expect in a high-ticket
item sales environment. Why don't we see more of that in the
aviation environment? Could I write a complimentary story like this
about your business. I would welcome it, and so would your bottom